TEF forges partnership with St. James PC
The St James Parish Council has forged a partnership deal with the cash-rich Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) to commence the implementation of the first phase of the multi-billion dollar MoBay Action Plan.
"We are much advanced in getting all of that area, from the North Gully mouth into the sea, back to Old Hospital Park, redeveloped, and we have actually identified the funding," Montego Bay's mayor, Glendon Harris, told Western Focus. "The Tourism Enhancement Fund is going to be working along with us with that funding so, as soon as all is in place, we can start off immediately."
The MoBay Action Plan, crafted jointly by the parish council and Inter-American Development Bank, under the Emerging Cities Initiatives, is built on five pillars - sanitation, urban-development planning and transportation, employment and training, public safety and reduction of vulnerability to natural and man-made disasters; and a major thrust to redevelop downtown Montego Bay.
Mayor Harris, who has indicated that special emphasis will be placed on the development of green spaces, declined to say how much would be spent in this initial phase of development, which forms part of a larger scale of development for the coastal corridor, extending from River Bay Fishing Beach to Old Hospital Park.
"The integrated waterfront park will include a boardwalk park, seawall pier, public beaches and seaside recreational activities. We want to create something like an Independence Park on the dump-up beach site," Harris explained.
The mayor also indicated that there is a proposal to remove light poles from Gloucester Avenue (the city's Hip Strip) as a part of the plan to develop the area with prescribed pedestrian corridors, without the impediment of light poles, electrical lines and cables.
The plan for the Hip Strip is poised to complement work being done now by the Korean government to implement the smart-city initiative for Montego Bay, which also incorporates technical and fiscal support.
"The Korean Government has already done a feasibility study and a design for the smart city initiative, which will entail putting in more cameras and sensors to detect disasters, including flooding, and will be assisting with transportation management, and in many other areas," noted Harris.
"We are pushing ahead on some of those as well, so Montego Bay is poised to really take off," Harris added.
The MoBay Action Plan invites public- and private-sector partnership to fund the implementation of aspects of the plan. The mayor recently launched an appeal to corporate Montego Bay, seeking input in the early implementation of the plan.